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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Yalobusha Was Well-Represented At State Convention

By Steve Cummings

Just as I got back from the Mississippi Farm Bureau Convention in Jackson, David Howell was looking for my news article.  

So, I’m here to report that as usual, Yalobusha County was well represented at the Farm Bureau Convention.  Kyle and Lauren Jeffreys are on the State Young Farm & Rancher Committee and had numerous duties throughout the convention.  Coley Little Bailey presented the nomination of officers and directors for the upcoming year at the business meeting.  Derrick Surrette, formerly of Water Valley, is the Farm Bureau Legislative Liaison, and he always represents Yalobusha County well.  David Waide was re-elected President of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation.  This year Yalobusha County did not have anyone in the contests, so if you are interested in the Farm Bureau queen, talent, or discussion contests, let us know and we will start planning for next year.

Horticulture Tips:

Strange-Colored Poinsettias

Speckled, multi-colored blooms in shades of maroon and white (Go Dogs!), pink, peach, even yellow selections of poinsettias are catching on fast. Regardless of the color you prefer, choose a fresh plant that will last through the holidays.  Buds in the center of the “bloom” should be small and green. They will eventually open into little yellow flowers.  If these are dropping off, the plant is past its prime.  The bracts or “petals” should be fully colored without too much green, and the plant should have strong stems and green leaves.

Christmas Tree Tips

If you buy a cut tree, here are a few quick tests for freshness. Bend the needles back to see how pliable they are.  Hold the tree by the trunk, and give it a firm shade to see if it retains its needles. Once you’ve got the tree home, cut at least 2 inches off the base to help with water movement up the trunk.   When it’s in the stand, check the water level daily, and never let it fall below the base of the trunk.

The trend this year for those who want to be “green” is to buy a living potted tree that can be planted out in the yard after the holidays. Shop for these at your favorite nursery or garden center.  While the containerized tree is indoors being a Christmas tree, definitely try to situate it away from heat sources, in an area of adequate light, and keep it watered.    

We need to take advantage of the slightly drier than normal December  and do some of that bed building we are always going to do but never get around to. The long range weather forecast is for normal to slightly decreased rainfall with normal temperatures. Beds built in December have time to settle and have some of their organic matter decompose before spring planting. Be sure to mulch beds after building them to prevent erosion of that improved topsoil. A planting of turnips, mustard or other greens could provide something to eat or something to plow in while protecting from erosion.

Winter cover crops need water as much as the crops you normally grow. The hit or miss rains of the last few weeks have many of us with adequate water, but some of us may need to go check on the vetch, winter peas, or small grain we have established in the garden to be sure they haven’t gotten stressed for water.

There is a new gourd on the market that looks like a patty pan squash on steroids. The normal knobs around the squash keep growing until it looks like fingers projecting from the central ball. This 100 day gourd may have potential as a Halloween novelty since it could be easily decorated to look like an extra-terrestrial.

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